Skip to main content

tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  December 30, 2016 11:00am-12:01pm PST

11:00 am
for our viewers in north america, "newsroom" with fredricka whitfield starts right now. hello, everyone, i'm fredricka whitfield filling in for brooke baldwin. we start with russia's bizarre reaction to america's retaliation for hacks targeting the dnc during the 2016 race. just hours after the u.s. hit russia with some of the toughest sanctions ever imposed, russia did what few anticipated -- nothing. america forcing russian diplomats suspected spies out of this country, shuttering two russian compounds, one in maryland, the other in new york, and hitting russia's chief intelligence agencies with tough sanctions. russia deciding not to engage.
11:01 am
president putin issuing a statement which included an invite to the children of american diplomats in russia to christmas and new year shows in the kremlin. and then came this tweet from the kremlin's twitter account reiterating that festive sentiment that has left a lot of people scratching their heads. it's apparently from putin who "offers his new year greetings to president obama and his family, also to president-elect donald trump." let's go live now to moscow and senior international correspondent matthew chance. matthew, the u.s. just slammed some of the toughest sanctions of any country in the world on russia so what now is behind this kind of response coming from putin? >> it's an interesting question. it was a very unexpected response as you indicated. we were expecting the kremlin to do a tit for tat expulsion of 35 u.s. diplomats here in moscow. that's what the russian foreign
11:02 am
minister advised the kremlin to do but it was all very choreographed. it was all kind of staged to try and show that vladimir putin was magnanimous, that he wanted to take the high ground, that he wouldn't engage with the poooba administration in its final few weeks. it's been characterized by the russians as vindictive and unimaginative, diplomatically, the obama administration, that is. and vladimir putin was clearly reaching out to the incoming trump administration saying i'm not going to do anything with the diplomats or expel anyone, i won't play that game, effectively but i am going to base our relationship with the united states on the policies of the incoming trump administration and so he's reaching out to donald trump who takes office, of course, in a couple of weeks or in three weeks and saying, look, we want to deal do a deal, we want to do a deal about a range of issues and vladimir putin is trying not to let the obama administration derail that hope and
11:03 am
anticipation. >> all right, matthew chance. what more do we know about the kinds of deals that putin would want to make with a president trump? >> there's a whole host of issues, fredricka, that have divided the united states and russia over the past couple years. it's no secret they've been at odds over syria, they've been on opposite sides of syria, with russia backing bashar al assad and the united states backing anti-assad rebels. it's no secret there have been tensions over russia's annexation of crimea in ukraine. and the u.s. has imposed sanctions against russia because of that involvement in ukraine and of course the issue of nato expansion has been a thorn in the side of the two countries for some time. l.a. what the kremlin hopes and many russians we've spoken to hope as well, is that in donald trump there will be an american president more sympathetic to the russian point of view and some of those divisions can be
11:04 am
narrowed. >> all right matthew chance in moscow, thanks so much. let's go to athena jones with president obama in honolulu. athena, we know the president condemned russia's hacking but what has been the reaction here in the u.s. to his sanctions? >> well, the white house hopes that these sanctions will have some impact. i can tell you the white house is not responding to the non-response from president putin. they're directing us to the state department. the state department official telling cnn "we have seen president putin's remarks, we have nothing further to add." so i don't expect much news on that front. mean while, trump supporters like former new york mayor rudy giuliani, who is, of course, been one of trump's most vocal supporters and defenders, are continuing to cast doubts on the conclusions reached by multiple u.s. intelligence agencies when it comes to russia being involved in hack.
11:05 am
here's what he had to say on fox. >> you get your own people to review it. there's no question that the intelligence that president obama has been getting has either been incompetent or politicized. i would urge president trump when he becomes president trump have his own intelligence people do their own report, let's find out who did it and let's bang them back really hard. not something moving a couple of this ones around and that ones around. they're not hacking from those places. it's totally absurd. >> now it's interesting to hear rudy giuliani talking about trump's own intelligence people. it's unclear what he exactly means by that. does he expect a new administration to have all new intelligence operatives? but i can also point out that members of trump's own party disagree with him on this front. they're not raising questions about the conclusions reached by these intelligence agencies. you had folks like speaker ryan,
11:06 am
mitch mcconnell saying the sanctions are overdue but they're appropriate. you have folks like arizona senator john mccain who called for hearings next week on the cyber attack issue so this is a point where trump seems to be at odds with members of his own party. fred? >> athena jones in honolulu, thank you so much. let's bring in our panel. cnn military analyst retired lieutenant general mark hertling. david cramer, former deputy assistant secretary of state for russia and senior director for human rights and democracy at the mccain institute. also joining me, john nixon, former cia senior analyst and author of "debriefing the president, the interrogation of saddam hussein." gentlemen, thanks so much for being with me. john nixon to you first. russia took an unpredictable route. the predictable route would have been this tit for tat, perhaps matching sanctions, expelling people. what's your interpretation of why vladimir putin took this
11:07 am
route? >> why should he not take this route? all he has to do is wait 20 days then he has a new president of the united states to deal with and a president whom, for all intense and purposes, he's probably going to get alo pg with great. >> and so david in your view is the public message, one that's very different than internally what may be taking place in russia as it pertains to vladimir putin? >> let's be clear, putin is trying to come across as magnanimous, reasonable, moderate, but he authorized the hacking in the united states. so president obama, what he did yesterday was simply to retaliate for the russian hacking. had putin responded to obama's measures yesterday he would have been escalating this situation not retaliating for it so i think putin has certainly orchestrated this response today. what the foreign ministry tried to do was completely coordinated
11:08 am
with the kremlin. let's not make any mistake about whom we're dealing with here. putin is responsible for the hacking. he's responsible for the invasion of ukraine. he's responsible for the civilian deaths from russian bombing in syria. this is a man who poses a threat to the united states, not someone in my view who is going to be a good buddy with the next president of the united states. >> so then in your view, has the u.s. gone far enough with the expelling of russians with the promised sanctions, with the closing of the two compounds? >> i think the measures that were taken were good but more can be done. for example, the head of the fsb was not included on the sanctions whereas the head of the russian military intelligence service, the gru, was. we need to lop off some of the
11:09 am
zeros in their bank accounts and have them complain about losing millions if not billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains and explain how they got that fortune in the first place. >> general, john touched on this, russia may just be buying time. 21 more day before the swearing in of the next president so what would russia's next move be? >> let's look at this, frederica, from the standpoint of cyber warfare. truthfully mr. putin's action this is morning playwright into the game plan for what you do with cyber. there are three key words -- mayhem, confusion and distrust. if you're using cyber, those are the things you want in the psychological domain to sew. you want to confuse the enemy, you want to make them have distrust in terms of what's going on. in this case mr. putin had his defense minister come out and say, hey, we're going to expel folks, then he came back as santa claus -- >> was that coordinated, in your view? >> sorry.
11:10 am
>> that was coordinated, in your view? >> absolutely coordinated. it goes right into a cyber play book. then santa claus putin comes out and says "we won't do that. in fact we'll welcome children into the kremlin." he's done a couple things which is a good military i would say statesman objective. he is playing toward trump and perhaps you haven't heard this, but mr. trump has a bit of an ego so he's playing to that ego. he's concerned about what might happen in the overt means of cyber warfare, what the u.s. might do for him, so he's backing off to see what occurs, how he can defend against it and how he can counterattack. then he's also portraying himself as the more mature player. he's not doing the tit for tat. he's trying to prove himself to be the hero in this action and pour more scorn on president obama for taking this action. so he's playing, truthfully, one of the options, i thought, that he possibly would play when he was caught red-handed as he has
11:11 am
been doing for the last ten years in europe in places like estonia, ukraine, and poland. >> john, how do you see it? >> if i can add one thing to that. i agree with both the previous speakers but one thing also i think putin wants to do is by taking this soft line it can possibly exacerbate the differences in tensions between the president-elect and the cia and that's something he could eventually exploit to his benefit. and certainly i think from our standpoint a wall of mistrust between the president and his intelligence community would be a very bad thing. >> so, david, do you see this potentially could undermine donald trump? particularly just three weeks away from his swearing in even though next week he does say he will be involved in intel briefings and at the same time senator john mccain is saying he wants to begin hearings on this matter. >> >> well, if you look at the reaction among some key
11:12 am
republicans in congress, they have said that this is too little too late. in other words they aren't saying this step by obama yesterday should not have been taken, they are arguing that it should have been taken much sooner and, in fact, much tougher so the risk, i think that president-elect trump faces when he assumes office is a growing divide between his views on russia and his interests in buddying up and becoming pals with putin and republicans in congress who do see russia and putin as a thread, the hacking as a major attack on the united states and the need for a much tougher position vis-a-vis russia. >> so in other words, the pressure is on that donald trump after swearing in would have to take this further to satisfy all of those parties. david cramer, john nixon, general mark hertling, thank you so much, gentlemen, appreciate it. next, was president-elect trump boxed in on u.s./russia relations just days before his inauguration as he and his advisers are saying? we'll have reaction from
11:13 am
mar-a-lago. plus, protecting his legacy. new details on the president's plan to safeguard obamacare. can democrats block a repeal by republicans? we're back in a moment. i even accept i have a higher risk of stroke due to afib, a type of irregular heartbeat not caused by a heart valve problem. but no matter what path i take, i go for my best. so if there's something better than warfarin, i'll go for that too. eliquis. eliquis reduced the risk of stroke better than warfarin,
11:14 am
plus had less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis had both. don't stop taking eliquis unless your doctor tells you to, as stopping increases your risk of having a stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily... and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. i'm still going for my best. and for eliquis. ask your doctor about eliquis. does that mean they have to grow apart from their friends,s older or from the things they love to do? with right at home, it doesn't. right at home's professional team thoughtfully selects caregivers to help with personal care, housekeeping, meals - and most of all, staying engaged - in life.
11:15 am
oh, thank you, thank you. you're welcome, are you ready to go? oh, i sure am. we can provide the right care, right at home. say hi to xiidra, lifitegrast ophthalmic solution. the first eye drop approved for the signs and symptoms of dry eye. one drop in each eye, twice a day. common side effects include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision when applied to the eye, and an unusual taste sensation. do not touch the container tip to your eye or any surface.
11:16 am
remove contacts before using xiidra and wait for at least 15 minutes before reinserting them. if you have dry eyes, ask your doctor about xiidra. welcome back. i'm fredricka whit field. the head of the house homeland security committee says president obama's sanctions against russia for interfering with the 2016 election are "long overdue." congressman mike mccaul goes on to say in a statement "for many months i have urged the administration to respond to the election-related hacks. i look forward to working with the incoming trump administration to make sure that in the future our response to such aggression is timely,
11:17 am
decisive and forceful enough to convince our adversaries not to do it again." let me turn to sunlen serfaty in palm beach. president-elect trump is spending the holiday there, mccaul and much of the republican party back president obama's actions and do not question his reasons for doing it, but that's not the case for at least one top aide for donald trump. talk to us about the former campaign manager and what she's saying. >> reporter: that's right, fred. pretty direct words from kellyanne conway who, as you know, was former campaign manager but also someone who stands ready to take over a top job in the incoming white house. here's she really calling out the obama administration for moving on these sanctions, suggesting politics are at play here. she's really speculating these sanctions were in essence a move to tie the hands of donald trump before he even becomes president on russia policy and really an attempt to undermine his win in november. here's what she said last night
11:18 am
on cnn. >> even on those who are sympathetic to president obama on most issues are saying that part of the reason he did this to today was to "box in" president-elect trump. that would be unfortunate if politics were the motivating factor here but we can't help but think that's often true. even the "new york times" characterized it as such that this may be an attempt to box him in to see what he'll do as president. >> now since these sanctions were put in place by the obama administration yesterday, we have not heard that much from president-elect donald trump who remains here at his resort in florida. we only heard a quick two-line statement from him yesterday. notable that he basically said it's time to move on and keeping in line with the posture he's taken in recent days, when asked for a response about the moves that were anticipated for quite a few days. we do know, of course, fred, he will sit down at some point next week likely in new york city
11:19 am
with intelligence officials to get a briefing, potentially presented with the evidence that they have, that they have reached this conclusion with confident that russia is behind these hacks. fred? >> sunlen serfaty, thank you so much. let's dig deeper now. i have cnn political commentator david swertleg from the "washington post." david, you first, is this ax boxing in donald trump or is it more about president obama getting things done in his last few days in office? >> probably a little bit of both but for the kellyanne conway spin of obama doing this to box in president-elect trump you have to accept the idea -- which i don't, that president obama had never taken aggressive action toward russia previously. president obama rallied our western allies in 2014 to impose very tight economic sanctions on russia which has hurt their
11:20 am
economy, hurt their oil industry and those sanctions are ongoing in response to what the intelligence community says was meddling in our election he's throwing on these additional sanctions that were announced yesterday. i think that president-elect trump boxed himself in a bit, fredricka, when it was either two or three sundays ago he was on sunday shows dismissing the intelligence community findings instead of saying what he could have easily said which was let's wait until the facts are in. instead he said not much to it. now he's saying let's move on with our lives. if he doesn't want to look weak on russia or soft on putin he does at least have to hear this out and see how it plays out. >> selena, what do you think, did donald trump box himself in by dismissing intelligence? dismissing, even, what he said, you know, anything can be on computers? >> well trump has always shown to us throughout this campaign that he can be saying two completely different things at
11:21 am
the exact same time and trying to make a point. so to me what he is saying by it's time to move on. he's saying that, you know, in terms of tying this russian hack into the results of the election, it's time for the country to move on. i won. i won without the hack and let's put this behind us. he's also telling us that he's not going to throw his intelligence community under the bus. because he's meeting with them next week, i suspect he will craft a statement or come out and talk about it saying they're wonderful people doing a great job and he'll combine them both and say now it's time to move on but i do not expect him to go against congress and go against the obama executive order about the russians. he's going to accept it. >> fredricka, can i respond to
11:22 am
one thing? just to selena's point, i agree with selena that from the point of view of president-elect trump it does sound like when he says let's move on he's still sort of chafing at this idea that his election was tainted by russian meddling and he did win fair and square based on the facts we know. the challenge, though, is just because he won fair and square doesn't mean, a, that there was any meddling and i don't think president obama or anyone in government is claiming that the results were tainted in that sense, just simply that russian action was taken and now our response is forthcoming. >> because his choice of words, donald trump's choice of words lately, whether it be via tweet or that moment with don king the other day. it's almost as if he's taking this very personally to acknowledge that there was any russian involvement, acknowledging this intelligence as opposed to looking at it in terms of a country, country
11:23 am
security, meddling with democracy instead. how much of a problem is that going to continue to be if he doesn't accept intelligence? doesn't accept, selena, what the majority of republicans on the hill say they want to see happen next? more sanctions. >> right. i think what's happening -- we all know president-elect trump pays attention to social media, he pays attention to what's going on in the news media even if he's not happy with everything that's said and there have been a lot of pundits and people that have insinuated that the two are wedded together and so, yes, i think he does take it personally but i also think that this is a man that is -- in the times i've interviewed him i've found to be incredibly curious and never having a problem with changing his mind, sometimes on the dime. i suspect it will be the same way about the intelligence community and i believe that you
11:24 am
will see him within a week or so saying he's on board, they're the greatest people in the world and he wants to move on from this. >> interesting. all right. also next week while senator joim mccain is pushing for hearings on this russia hacking, president obama will be going to capitol hill in perhaps a last-ditch effort to try to protect obamacare. donald trump promise head would repeal and replace obamacare right away but with all of this now taking center stage, david, do you see that that is far less a priority now for a donald trump after his swearing in? >> no, i think it's a priority for the administration and republicans in congress to take some sort of action on the affordable care act because they've been promising for so long they would repeal and replace or at least amend or change or do something about it that their supporters say they want them to either get rid of
11:25 am
it or modify it significantly. what form that takes is where we get into the question mark, right? the devil is in the details. if republicans really move on the affordable care act. what do they replace it with and how do they satisfy their constituents who, although they say they don't like the affordable care act, tell poll after poll that they like certain key provisions of it and that i think is what the president is going to discuss with his democratic allies. >> and selena what if the meat really isn't there in terms of what would replace obamacare? if that promise cannot be met by a donald trump? what's at stake for him and his administration? >> well, i think the smartest thing for trump to do in terms of the affordable care act is to do what rahm emanuel suggested to president obama back when he was 2 chief of staff in 2009. do whatever he's going to do in piecemeal. do it gaj wally. the american public is used to us moving at a snail's pace and part of the problem with
11:26 am
obamacare is it was done so swiftly and such a big change that -- and some of it did not turn out the way they expected it to, i think the american people, especially a people that voted for him, would be satisfied with that approach. part of their biggest problem with obamacare is just the swiftness in which it happened. >> and david, is it really an issue of just rebranding? >> to selena's point, i think politically selena is right. a go-slow approach would help president-elect trump. in terms of the math and mechanics of how the component parts of the affordable care act work together i think it would be a bit bigger of a challenge for congressional republicans and president-elect trump. there's a reason why republicans were sort of content to vote time after time in the house to repeal and replace knowing that they would be protected by either the senate or a presidential veto. now that they're responsible for a fundamental change, rebranding
11:27 am
is a real thing. >> david swerdlick and selena zito, thank you very much, we appreciate it. up next, one day into the cease-fire deal in syria between russia, the assad regime and rebels, the sides agree to put an end to the brutal war there. will it hold? later two russian compounds on u.s. soil have been effectively shut down with the obama administration ordering all russians to leave in the wake of the new sanctions. what goes on in those waterfront retreats we will discuss. you're watching cnn. , take delsym, the #1 12-hour cough medicine. it helps control the impulse to cough for 12 hours. which means, you're controlling your cough on your morning commute. and later when you're joking with beth... even when most cough medicines stop, delsym is still working. ♪ and when your days' over, your cough is still under control. thanks to the #1 12-hour cough medicine. delsym. the cough controller.
11:28 am
won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. and if you have more than one liberty mutual policy, you qualify for a multi-policy discount, saving you money on your car and home coverage. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. volunteer for meals on wheels. we had an instant connection. what was that? i said, "delivering to you is always a special treat." oh. company, companionship, food... we all need those things. when we get in that spot in life, it's kind of nice to have 'em there.
11:29 am
(avo) through the subaru share the love event, we've helped deliver over one point four million meals to those in need. get a new subaru, and we'll donate two hundred and fifty dollars more. ♪put a little love in your heart.♪ at clorox 2 we've turned removing stains into a science. now pre-treat with clorox 2! watch stains disappear right before your eyes. remove 4 times more stains than detergent alone.
11:30 am
11:31 am
welcome back. i'm fredricka whitfield. the nationwide cease-fire in syria is approaching its first 24 hours. russia and turkey helped broker the truce that vladimir putin is calling extremely fragile. mohammad lila joins live from istanbul. mohammad, one day into the cease-fire, how are things going? >> well, fredricka, we're almost at that crucial 24 hour mark. wherever there's a cease-fire, usually the first few hours are the most important because it determines how this cease-fire is going to take hold. well, the good news subpoena that it seems to be holding very loosely, mind you, but it is holding. there have been some reports of sporadic clashes around the country. that's not unsurprising. some terror groups have been excluded from the cease-fire so we're expecting fighting against those groups to continue but overall, russia, syria, iran and turkey say despite those small clashes, that the cease-fire is
11:32 am
holding and this is the biggest promise or the most optimistic people have been in years simply because it's the first time any kind of cease-fire has tried to take hold across the entire country. so a good first day but there are still a couple hours left. >> the u.s. was left out of the cease-fire negotiations. what does that mean for russia's vladimir putin and his role in the middle east? >> well, it means as far as the zircon flikt goes that he's one of the main partners on the ground. he's been backing up the assad government since this crisis began. he's been backing them up with air strikes and military logistics but what's interesting is while he's been backing up the syrian government, russia paid a key role in establishing the cease-fire. we talk about russia, russia's role in this was so important that it was russia that approached turkey, which is another country in the region that has interest in syria and together russia and turkey were able to establish a cease-fire and set up some kind of framework for a peace moving
11:33 am
forward and we know there will be peace talks in a month or so, russia, turkey, iran and syria will be at the table and the kremlin offering specifically president-elect donald trump a seat at the table if donald trump wants it. completely bypassing president obama and that gives you an indication of obama's legacy in syria which, unfortunately, hasn't been all that positive. >> mohammad lila, thank you so much in istanbul. next, two russian compounds on u.s. soil have been effectively shut down in the wake of the obama administration's sanctions against russia. are these buildings essentially spy headquarters in the u.s.? plus, 35 russians being expelled. we will discuss next. ah...still sick, huh? i'll take it from here. i'm good. i just took new mucinex clear and cool.
11:34 am
ah! what's this sudden cooling thing happening? it's got a menthol burst. you can feel it right away. wow, that sort of blind-sided me. and it clears my terrible cold symptoms. ahh! this is awkward. new mucinex clear & cool. feel the menthol burst. while powerful medicine clears your worst cold symptoms. start the relief. ditch the misery. let's end this. it was love at first touch met and all you wanted to do was surround them in comfort and protection that's why only pampers swaddlers is the #1 choice of hospitals to wrap your baby in blanket-like softness and premium protection mom: "oh hi baby" so all they feel is love wishing you love, sleep and play. pampers
11:35 am
as after a dvt blood clot,ital i sure had a lot to think about. what about the people i care about? ...including this little girl. and what if this happened again? i was given warfarin in the hospital, but wondered, was this the best treatment for me? so i asked my doctor. and he recommended eliquis. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots and reduces the risk of them happening again. yes, eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. eliquis also had significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. both made me turn around my thinking. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to.
11:36 am
eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. if you had a spinal injection while on eliquis call your doctor right away if you have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily ...and it may take longer than usual for bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. plus had less major bleeding. both made eliquis the right treatment for me. ask your doctor if switching to eliquis is right for you.
11:37 am
welcome back now. temg tensions between the israelis and palestinians many have tried but all have failed to bring peace between those two factions. inspite of those failures, businessman turned president-elect trump says he will solve the problem by making what he calls "the ultimate deal." but what are his chances of success. oren lieberman reports the incoming trump administration is being watched closely from jerusal jerusalem. >> reporter: a new political day dawns in the middle east on january 20. >> very, very strong on israel. i think israel's been treated very, very unfairly by a lot of different people. >> reporter: president-elect donald trump says he can do what no president has done in half a century -- solve the israeli/palestinian conflict, calling it the ultimate deal and suggesting his jewish son-in-law jared kushner may be a part of the plan. trump tweeting "the recent u.n. resolution on israeli
11:38 am
settlements was a big loss for israel and will make it harder to negotiate peace" but saying he'll get it done anyway. the president-elect has promised to move the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem and recognize the holy city as the capital of israel, the move, welcomed by israel, condemned by the palestinians as the death of a two-state solution. the unprecedented intervention from the president-elect coming as relations between prime minister netanyahu and president barack obama are as bad as ever. the obama administration led talks between israelis and palestinians in 2010 and again if 2013. the last round of negotiations led by secretary of state john kerry broke down with both sides blaming each other. two months later, israel and gaza were at war. tensions have only worsened since then as the region descented into another round of violence late last year. prime minister netanyahu and palestinian president mahmoud abbas last shook hands in september at the funeral for israeli president shimon peres
11:39 am
who shared a nobel prize for forging a peace deal. it was the closest abbas and netanyahu came to talking publicly in years. in time we'll find out if president-elect trump can change that. president-elect donald trump brings an outsider's perspective to the israeli/palestinian conflict, that of a businessman not a politician and maybe, just maybe, that's exactly what the conflict needs. but presidents who have handled or worked on the conflict have done so generally with more sensitivity than trump has shown. either way, trump lch his chance in just under three weeks. oren lieberman, cnn, jerusalem. next, two russian compounds on u.s. soil have been effectively shut down in the wake of the obama administration's against russia. are they essentially spy head quarters? plus 35 russians being expelled. we'll discuss next. plus, vladimir putin is responding to president obama's sanctions with a holiday card and an invitation to the
11:40 am
kremlin. what's going on here? you're watching cnn. a breakthrough medicine that can help make more tomorrows possible. tomorrow, i want to see teddy bait his first hook. in the largest heart failure study ever, entresto was proven to help more people stay alive and out of the hospital than a leading heart failure medicine. women who are pregnant must not take entresto. it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto with an ace inhibitor or aliskiren. if you've had angioedema while taking an ace or arb medicine, don't take entresto. the most serious side effects are angioedema, low blood pressure, kidney problems, or high potassium in your blood. tomorrow, i'm gonna step out with my favorite girl. ask your doctor about entresto. and help make the gift of tomorrow possible.
11:41 am
11:42 am
11:43 am
welcome back. i'm fredricka whitfield. from the laughing chewbacca mom to the election, brooke baldwin looks back on the top 10 trending stories of 2016. >> 2016 saw social media's role in the news grow in ways never seen before, life videos, social outrage, viral protests and elections all dominated the social conversation. here are the top ten trending stories of 2016. number 10, pokemon go. the '90s cartoon and nintendo game made a massive return in 2016. the new smartphone version became a worldwide phenomenon,
11:44 am
being downloaded an estimated 500 million times. the game builds a community of users blending the real world and game world. number nine, #ripharambe. the internet broke out in outrage after the killing of a 17-year-old silver back gorilla at the cincinnati zoo. the gorilla was killed after a three-year-old child slipped into its own closure. an online petition seeking justice for harambe received more than 100,000 signatures in less than 48 hours. the hashtag was used more than 270,000 times and 9.1 million people tweeted overall about the silverback gorilla's death. tributes, online memes and a couple off color jokes continue to flood social media in harambe's memory. number eight, #no dapl. the fight to block a pipeline from running through an indian
11:45 am
reservation. people uploaded, live streamed and used the hashal "no dapl." >> there were upwards of 10,000 people braving these frigid and difficult conditions to stand with the standing rock sioux. >> you want to see what i got? so great. can't wait to show you. >> reporter: number seven, candice payne, although you probably know her as "chewbacca mom." >> that's not me making that noise, it's the mask! hear, listen. [ chewbacca growls ] >> reporter: when payne took to the newly launched facebook live trying on a chewbacca mask, her video went viral and was viewed a whopping 164 million times. to date, it's the most-watched facebook live video ever. number six, brexit, it was the biggest political upset of the year -- at the time. leading up to the vote people took sides on social media,
11:46 am
" #strongerin" for those voting to remain in the european union and #streetleave" for those voting to leave brexit. >> in an unprecedented move, britain has voted to leave the european union and the reaction has been chaos. >> reporter: leave prevailed 52% to 48% sending shock wave there is the united kingdom and europe and beyond. number five, omron and bala, the children of aleppo showing the horror of war on social media. the heartbreaking video of the five-year-old bloodied and covered in dust pulled from the rubble after surviving an air strike that destroyed his family's home in aleppo. >> hello, my friends, how are you? stand with aleppo? >> and bana al-abed she and her mother tweeting from aleppo. she tweets "my name is bana, i am seven years old, i am talking to the world now live from east
11:47 am
aleppo, this is my last moment to either live or die." number four, facebook live stream diamond reynolds. >> the officer just shot him. >> after her fiance philando castile was shot, diamond reynolds took out her smartphone and live streamed his dying moments. the facebook live was viewed 5.7 million times before it was ultimately taken down. number three, rest in peace. 2016 was a shocking year of loss and the social media world mourned those who passed. the music world lost several legends including -- ♪ changes, turn and face the strange ♪ >> david bowie. >> 2-0-0-party out it's out of time. >> and prince. boxing icon muhammad ali also passed away in 2016. number two, @realdonald trump. that was the most talked about handle on twitter in all of
11:48 am
2016. trump used twitter to attack opponents, prop up those who support him and negotiate deals, request more than 17 million followers and counting donald trump's use of twitter changed blix and brought us an election like we've never seen before. which brings us to number one #election2016. it was the most talked about story on all of social media. the hashtag used 7.8 million times. clinton and trump had their own hashtags. #i'mwithher was tweeted 15 million times and the combination o of #makeamericagreatagain and its hashtag form "maga" were tweeted out 37 million times. this post by hillary clinton was retweeted more than 638,000 times. "to all the little girls watching, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and
11:49 am
opportunity in the world." but donald trump's shocking win was the big show. twitter says by the time trump declared victory some 75 million people were tweeting about the results. and now coming up, a new response from donald trump on vladimir putin's lack of retaliation to those u.s. sanctions. here's a hint -- trump's words "very smart." straight ahead. that cough doesn't sound so good. well i think you sound great. move over.
11:50 am
easy booger man. take mucinex dm. it'll take care of your cough. fine! i'll text you in 4 hours when your cough returns. one pill lasts 12 hours, so... looks like i'm good all night! ah! david, please, listen. still not coughing. not fair you guys! waffles are my favorite! ah! some cough medicines only last 4 hours. but just one mucinex lasts 12 hours. start the relief. ditch the misery. let's end this.
11:51 am
11:52 am
welcome back, i'm fredricka whitfield. 2016 almost over. it's the one occasion every religion, race and culture celebrates and many nations are sharing the worries that such big gatherings can attract. new york city mayor bill de blasio says more than a million
11:53 am
people are expected to fill times square saturday and the nypd will deploy extraordinary assets to keep everyone safe. cnn's brynn gingras is live in time square. what new security measures are being publicly revealed? >> well, it's extraordinary assets like you just said, extraordinary protocols and procedures that they started puttiput putting in place when the ball dropped in 2016. it's just layers upon layers of security that really the nypd has to continually evolve as they see more terror threats all around the world. new york city is on high alert in anticipation of one of the biggest new year's eve celebrations in the world. securing it takes an army, 7,000 nypd officers are just one part of the enhanced measures being taken to protect the city.
11:54 am
>> this is where everybody has to be on their toes. i know complacency can set in at times but not in an event like this. >> reporter: in the wake of the isis-inspired attacks in berlin and nice, 65 sand trucks and 100 blockers will be stationed around the city, most being used as a protective barrier around the perimeter of times square to ward off a truck-style attack. >> we live in a changing world now, it can't just be about what happens in new york. >> reporter: the nypd is in constant communication with foreign departments, gaining intelligence and sharing police strategy with cities abroad. in london, there's added security at the changing of the guards, heavily armed police were unavoidable in berlin as they stood post behind concrete barriers at a christmas concert. czech holiday markets with heavily patrolled and in france the government announced a boost of 10,000 soldiers on the parisian streets over the holiday period adding to the officers working around the clock. >> translator: we are really
11:55 am
giving of ourselves, of our time and at a cost to us and our families. >> reporter: nearly two million people are expected in times square. the extra police presence a noticeable addition to keep new york city safe. >> if you're coming down to times square, rest assured it will be a safe venue. >> reporter: fred, we know within the last few weeks nimd detectives have been visiting truck rental centers and have been securing parking garages, going to area hotels, talking to managers and owners, keeping their eyes open for anything suspicious. i can tell you next to me there are manhole covers that are now welded shut so a lot of measures continually happening to keep this area safe but we should mention, fred, no credible threat has been made against the times square celebration. fred? >> and, brynn, what if anything are people saying to you there? because already times square has been teeming with people. there are a lot of out-of-town visitors here in this city. has there been a response from people about the visible
11:56 am
presence of security even now? >> you know, around hemopeople are noticing a difference. it's hard to see with the camera facing me here but towards my left there are still those nypd detectives that are heavily armed and they're stationed all around the city but we're seeing more and more of that as we get closer to the new year's eve celebration in times square. >> countdown already on. thank you so much brynn gingras in times square. in this now breaking news, president-elect donald trump weighing in just homes ago on putin's response to the russian sanctions being imposed by the obama administration. let's go now to palm beach, cnn's sunlen serfaty is there and already in the form of a tweet. >> reporter: that's right, fred. we heard from president-elect donald trump just briefly over twitter just a few minutes ago out with some praise of russian have the vladimir putin for withholding a response move to those sanctions imposed by the
11:57 am
obama administration yesterday. i want to read you this short tweet just posted by donald trump he says. "great move on delay by v. putin, i always knew he was very smart." now putin overnight said he will not expel u.s. diplomats in russia in response to these sanctions saying in a statement that he will look forward to working with the administration when they take over in january. of course this echoes similar things donald trump said throughout the campaign, he wants to work to improve relations with russia. that was a campaign promise he made. but certainly fred being put on the spot now with this conclusion from the u.s. intelligence agency that they engaged in the hacking during the election which is why there's so much pressure on donald trump right now to say more about what he thinks exactly about these sanctions besides this tweet we have only heard a short two-line sentence statement from donald trump that came in the form of a statement
11:58 am
last night where he said it's time to move on, he says he will sit down with the intelligence community next week to hear what evidence that they have. fred? >> what more do we know about that intel briefing next week? how it may differ from the other intel briefings that have been offered some of which he has taken -- engaged in. others his advisers have engaged in. what might be different next week? >> it's a great question, it's one that we have for the trump team as well and hopefully we will find out more details ahead. we know that will happen at some point next week, trump will sit down with members of the intelligence community. we know that likely will happen in new york and we anticipate getting more details today from the trump transition, including who is participating, when that will happen but as you note, trump has been getting intel briefings, the most recent one was two days ago here in palm beach and we know he's been having intel briefings about three times a week as the new
11:59 am
president-elect so certainly it does sound like they hope to gain new information. we heard from reince priebus yesterday saying that they want basically more solid proof coming from the intel community why they reached these conclusions and why they reached them with confidence pointing the finger at russia. >> sunlen serfaty in palm beach, thank you so much. right now, top of the hour, i'm fredricka whitfield, we are back with america's retaliation for russia's election hacks during the 2016 race just hours after the u.s. hit russia with some of the toughest sanctions ever imposed. russia did what few anticipated -- nothing. america forcing russian diplomats, suspected spies, out of this country, shuttering two russian compounds then hitting russia's chief intelligence agencies with tough sanctions. russia deciding not to engage. president putin issuing a
12:00 pm
statement which included an invite to the children of american diplomats in russia to christmas and new years shows at the kremlin and then came this tweet from the kremlin's twitter account reiterating that festive sentiment that has left a lot of people scratching their heads. it's apparently from putin who "offers his new year greetings to president obama and his family, also to president-elect donald trump." let's go live now to moscow and cnn international correspondent matthew chance. matthew, how unexpected was this lack of retaliation from russia when the conventional wisdom was that there would be tit for tat? >> it was completely unexpected and we were all anticipating that there was going to be a tit for tat response. we thought there was going to be 35 american diplomats expelled just like the russian diplomats expelled from the united states. the russian foreign minister appear